Dungeon Defenders – Hotkeys & Gameplay Basic Guide

Dungeon Defenders – Hotkeys & Gameplay Basic Guide 1 - steamlists.com
Dungeon Defenders – Hotkeys & Gameplay Basic Guide 1 - steamlists.com

List of things that are simply GOOD TO KNOW. Some of these even took me hundreds hours to learn, simply because they aren’t mentioned anywhere!


I personally recommend jumping straight into Redux, some people assume its like an overhaul, but it isn’t. Its more like an unoffical update that adds new content, balance changes, and an entire new difficulty setting.
To switch to the Redux version of the game, right click Dungeon Defenders in your library, hit “Properties…”, “BETAS”, open the drop down menu, and hit “redux_12.0.3 – Redux 12.0.3 RC”. After you close the menu, the Redux version will begin installing.


As for the Hotkeys, open the launcher, hit configure, and go over to controls.
List of note worthy hotkeys you might not know about:

  • Display Area Map – Allows you to view an overhead map of the mission, use this CONSTANTLY if you don’t already know the map your playing very well.
  • Chat & ConsoleKey – I suggest just using the console for chatting purposes. It allows you to view past messages while typing and generally feels nicer IMO.
  • Drop All Mana – Use this so you don’t have to open your inventory every time you want to give others mana.
  • Activate Crystal – Use this to start the wave without running all the way back to the crystal. You can also (as the games host), hold ctrl and hit the bound key to force start the mission.
  • Less & More Trap/Aura Place Radius – These allow you to adjust the size of your Traps and Auras, while this does affect traps activation radius, it does not affect their effective radius, meaning with this you can get fit more traps in a smaller area.

The following list is for Hotkeys that don’t appear in the controls menu.

  • U – Opens the trade menu. (Assuming a trade is in progress.)
  • O – Toggles Enemy billboards. (The billboards that appear during the build phase that show what enemies are coming)
  • P – Toggles towers being shown on the overhead map.
  • B – Cycles the VFX for dropped items {None, Circles only, Circles and Beams}

You can also rebind the number keys 0-9 to different hero abilities by opening the action wheel (T or Middle Mouse by default) and holding the number key of your choice on the action of your choice. These are hero specific, allowing you to have different ability choices set for each hero.

Beginner Info

If you’re just starting out, this info will help you A LOT.

  • Play Ranked instead of Open, a lot of new players make the misconception that Ranked is “HARDCORE MC COMPETITION MODE” when in reality, Ranked is normal mode, and Open is Cheats allowed mode. If you ever want to play modded content in Open, you can copy your Ranked saves over to Open at any time by hitting “Export To Open” on the character selection screen. As a bonus, you can also use this to test upgrading an item without having to worry about it ending up worse then what you already had. By copying your saves to open, upgrading the item over there, seeing if its better, then returning to Ranked, you can safely upgrade items without worry of wasting mana.
  • I suggest making a Countess Builder as your first character. As it has a bit of everything, some of the other characters don’t have access to powerful blockades, or projectile based towers that can hit flying enemies which can make things more difficult then they need to be.
  • Don’t pick up every single item that drops. Doing this is both pointless in solo play, and selfish in online play, items are automatically sold and the mana split amongst everyone in the game when the next wave is started. Picking them up in online games hordes all the mana for yourself, and stops others from using them if they are improvements for them. Note that this will only happen on the final wave if you select to continue “Next Level”, and not if you straight up “Return To Tavern”. The simple solution to this is to select to continue “Next Level”, watch until all the items disappear, then quickly open the menu and hit “Return To Tavern”.
  • Make the decision of whether or not you want to get carried by other players or not, I am personally biased in this debate, why skip the entire early game intentionally? But uhh, basically you can skip the entire early game by having some high level players carry you. I would HIGHLY advise against it but, again, I’m biased.



Ingame Options to change:

  • Step Towards Melee Target: OFF, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY
  • Lock Tavern Item Drops: On, Stops others from dropping items in your tavern.
  • Lock Tavern Item Pick Ups: On, Stops others from picking up items in your tavern. These two allow you to drop and show off items in your tavern.
  • Fast Gameplay Menu Transitions: On, Faster menu transitions.


Misc Info

  • The Redux has a built in emulator for farming, allowing you to bring in up to 4 heros at once. This allows you to quadruple rewards for completing missions, and farm XP for 4 heros at once.
    Use the following hotkeys to use it:
    F2 – Select P1
    F3 – Bring in / Select P2
    F4 – Bring in / Select P3
    F5 – Bring in / Select P4
    F6 – Quick bring in 3 emulator heros
    F7 – Quick remove all emulator heros
    F8 – Toggle split screen
    Ctrl + Activate Crystal – (As host) Force start the mission without needing all the emulator heros to ready up.
  • You can drop items on your tavern floor for others to see, and using a Summoner you can move them around while in Overlord mode (2 by default). Just make sure in the ingame options you have “Lock Tavern Item Drops” and “Lock Tavern Item Pick Ups” on, this will keep people from dropping their items, and/or taking yours.


Gameplay & Mechanical Tips

Builders & DPS Heros

It is highly recommended once you break the level 74 mark, to start using Builder & DPS heros separately. Instead of having a character that is mediocre at both killing things and building towers, have different heros be good at each. Typically, you will want the following list of heros:

  • DPS Monk
  • Boost Monk
  • {Any ranged DPS hero} (I personally recommend Jester, other options include: Apprentice, Adept, Series EV, Huntress, or Ranger)
  • Series EV Builder
  • Initiate Builder
  • Huntress Builder
  • Countess Builder
  • Summoner Builder
  • Optionally: Pet Summoner (For farming Divine Crystals)
  • Optionally: DPS Barbarian (Because BARBARIAN!!!)

“Why are all the builders girls, and all the DPS boys?” Because SEXISM BABY! They made the Girls faster, and the boys Tankier.


Skins affect hero stats, but many need to be unlocked. Here are the preferred skins for each of the typically used heros I just listed.

  • DPS Monk, Best: Super Legendary Monk / Crystalline Monk OR Crystalline Ninja if you value Speed over Health. After that is: Legendary Monk, then Cardboard Tube Samurai.
  • Boost Monk, (Same as DPS Monk, but Crystalline Ninja in this case is a downgrade.)
  • DPS Jester, (Doesn’t matter)
  • Series EV Builder, (Default is fastest)
  • Initiate Builder, (Doesn’t matter)
  • Huntress Builder, (Default is fastest)
  • Countess Builder, (Doesn’t matter)
  • Summoner Builder, Demoness
  • Pet Summoner, personal choice, Demoness is faster, Summoner has more Health.
  • DPS Barbarian, personal choice, going in order from fastest to most health: Amazon, Default/Scottish Warrior, Santa Imposter, then Tavernkeep Imposter / Pirate Imposter.

Other stuff


  • You can type “killme” in chat to suicide if you end up stuck, or to get back to the forge faster on some maps.
  • Having a set of armor that is all one type (Leather, Chain, Mail, Plate, or Pristine) will give ALL the armor stats about a 33% increase, Note that the armor has to also all be Mythic or better, or Godly or worse for it to work. This will only become important at level 74+, so ignore it until then.
  • Damage dealt by the hero in Nightmare or Ascension is roughly 16%, but pet damage is (VERY ROUGHLY) Double. This makes using pets as your primary source of damage in those difficulties a very viable option.
  • Survival as a DPS on Nightmare or Ascension is next to impossible without maxed damage reduction (90%). When you start doing missions on Nightmare, you will need to upgrade the armor for you heros you are using during waves, with damage & elemental reduction (Obviously you can ignore it on builders armor). To reach that each piece will need 29% (41% with set bonus) in damage reduction and each element, the reason its not like 23% for each piece is because Nightmare+ gives a negative modifier to your damage reduction percentage. “I can’t upgrade my armor above 23%!” That is due to how upgrading works as a whole, once stats hit a certain amount they can soft cap, or hard cap. The soft cap will stop you from upgrading it for a certain number of upgrades per upgrade (I hope that makes sense) in this case: 9 of every 10 upgrades. While the hard cap just stops you from ever upgrading it. Translation: upgrade a different stat (Preferably other reductions) until the reduction you are increasing becomes available again. This also means for technical reasons you should max the reduction with the highest base first. Activating Pro Mode, then upgrading while holding shift will upgrade until you reach the soft cap, and can upgrade something that is soft capped, while holding ctrl will just spend ALL the upgrades it can.
  • The fastest way to grind XP (Without doing True Boss Rush, which is uhhhh, hard.) is to go into “The Deeper Well” Mission on Ascension Hardcore Survival, with a DPS Monk using a powerful pet. Start on wave 1, assuming you are strong enough, you should be able to afk the first 3 waves without moving, then restart the mission. You can get from 0 to 100 in about 3 hours, or to 83 in around 20 mins. (I set up a macro that does this completely automatically, just set it, go to bed, in the morning all 3 emulator heros I put in are lvl 100.)


Basic Starting Progression

If you find yourself stuck or clueless when making your way through the early game (Levels 0-74), this is the section to read.
(This is all assuming you don’t want to get carried)
An important tip for this is XP Multipliers, you get 30% more XP at the end of each wave for each of the following you do: Have towers deal 0 damage, Take no damage, Have no Cores take any damage, and/or Play Ascension difficulty. Try your best to get the No damage, and No Core damage as much as possible.
Start off by just running through all the missions from The Deeper Well all the way up to Glitterhelm Caverns on Normal Hardcore. After that you should be in your 30s – early 40s. Then jump back into The Deeper Well on Insane Hardcore, and make your way all the way back up to Glitterhelm on Insane Hardcore, then farm it until you hit level 74.
Gear up until 74 doesn’t make a huge difference aside from your weapon, but when you break 74 it becomes everything. Go into the Endless Spires on Nightmare Hardcore, do the first wave, then open all the chests to get your first few Mythic items. Repeat this until you have a set of builder armor with a set bonus.

Guide End

Thanks for reading! I highly suggest going and watching Zapador’s video! I learned quite a few of the things I put in this guide from his video.

Also comment and let me know if you have any information you think I should add to this guide!
Have an absolutely FANTAAASTIC day.

I hope you enjoy the Guide we share about Dungeon Defenders – Hotkeys & Gameplay Basic Guide; if you think we forget to add or we should add more information, please let us know via commenting below! See you soon!

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